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New Muse Single 'Thought Contagion' is a Politically Charged Synth-laden Epic

Artwork for the new Muse single 'Thought Contagion'. Image via Facebook/Muse

New Muse single “Thought Contagion” has dropped and it’s the first new track from the band since “Dig Down”, the standalone single which was released May 2017. The band had teased fans a few days before the single’s release (15th February) by releasing the poster on social media.

The poster featured lead bassist Chris Wolstenholme wearing shades set against a neon tropical background and fancy sports car, a very 80s vibe. Along with this, the NME reported back in January that the band had been looking for extras in Los Angeles with “wild hair, tattoos and piercings welcome”.

Lead bassist Chris Wolstenholme in the poster for new Muse single 'Thought Contagion'. Image via Facebook/Muse

Now, along with the single, the music video (see below) has also been released and its eighties-enthused style lives up to the promise of the poster. Along with giving off some futurist attitude too, some nods to the DeLorean from Back to the Future and neon cyberpunk.

The music, meanwhile, is synth-laden and epic, lead singer Matt Bellamy has referred to it as “rocking, heavy”. Along with last year’s “Dig Down” and “Thought Contagion” Muse revealed last March that they were working on three new singles in a London recording studio. They’re all due to appear on a new album, a follow up to 2015’s Drones.

Matt Bellamy of Muse performing at Islington Academy in 2003 to promote the release of their album, 'Absolution'. © Stuart Nicholls

“It's nice to have that sort of quick turnaround rather than waiting for all the materials to come out with the album.” Bellamy told Rolling Stone about releasing the singles like this, “The album will be a very mixed bag. The songs are going to be quite different in spots and we're also interested in doing some genre-blending and era-blending."

The single itself, while coming with a pretty insane and out there music video, is politically charged, just like many things these days in the post-truth Trump era. Bellamy wrote it towards the end of 2017 and said in his Rolling Stone interview that firstly he came up with a bass line and then used a theremin, putting an anthemic vocal over the top which was created with the help of Wolstenholme.

Muse performing onstage at the Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield in November 2006. © Chris Saunders

As for the lyrics which feature lines about “It's too late for the revolution/ Brace for the final solution" Bellamy says this nihilism came from watching US news stations. “We're living in an age where these sort of ideologies, people's belief systems, whether they are true or false, are getting a lot of air time, especially ones on the false side. I think that we're living in an unusual period where a lot of airtime is being given to crazy ideas. The flip side is that we're living in a time where pointing out someone's inaccuracies, using science for example, is becoming increasingly difficult. Sometimes it's even perceived as an insensitive thing to do.”

And the name of the song, “Thought Contagion” looks to be a direct reference to how this misinformation is penetrating into people’s minds and causing them concern. “It's about how other people's false belief systems can infect your own and sometimes even affect your feelings.” Bellamy muses.

Alternative version of cover artwork for Muse's 2006 album 'Black Holes & Revelations'. © Storm Thorgerson

As for that new album, Muse fans will have to wait a few months yet. “All the songs we're putting out we will put on the next album. We're about halfway through the album process and we're pretty sure we'll get it done by the fall. We're either going to put it out in fall or early next year, but we're hoping to put another two singles out ahead of that.”

Listen to “Thought Contagion” below. Keep up to date with Muse news at the band's website.

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